Monday, June 5, 2017

Henry de Monfreid : Red Sea secrets

Red Sea pirate, smuggler, gun runner and writer, artist, photographer, (fake) art dealer...

...Henri de Monfreid aka Abdul Hai onboard Altaïr
Nobleman, writer, adventurer and inspiration for the swashbuckling gun runner in the Adventures of Tintin, Henri de Monfried lived by his own account ‘a rich, restless, magnificent life’ as one of the great travellers of his or any age.

Infamous as well as famous, his name is inextricably linked to the Red Sea and the raffish ports between Suez and Aden in the early years of the twentieth century.
(1860 map)

Henry de Monfreid's most popular book is Hashish: A Smuggler's Tale.
He seeks his fortune by becoming a collector and merchant of the fabled Gulf pearls, then is drawn into the shadowy world of arms trading, slavery, smuggling and drugs.
Hashish was the drug of choice, and de Monfried writes of sailing to Suez with illegal cargos, dodging blockades and pirates.

Henry de Monfreid onboard «Obok» sailing boat, with his son Daniel and his grandson Guillaume, April 17th 1962 (crédit Jacques Barde/l’Indépendant).
"Never be afraid of life, never be afraid of adventure, trust chance, luck, destiny.
Go, go and conquer other spaces, other hopes. The rest will be given to you."
from The Secrets of the Red Sea (1931) by Henry de Monfreid
"I have lived a rich, restless, magnificent life", Monfreid declared
a few days before dying in 1974 at the age of 95. 

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